Handmade for the holidays

Previous Next

Phew! You made it past Black Friday without being trampled to death at a Megamart. Victory!

OK, now you just have to stuff stockings, draw Secret Santa numbers at the office, buy and wrap presents for your family and friends, hoping all the while that everyone’s pleased and nothing’s regifted.

But first, to fortify you with cheer and goodwill, we here at RN&R would like to announce our new holiday-prep slogan. “Shop till you drop” has been officially updated to “Go visit your local artists at their studios, sales and sites, and just completely forget about fighting over parking spaces at the mall.”

Here are some of the creative, off-the-beaten-path gift-shopping options you’ll find around town this December. And there are a lot more! Keep your eyes open for listings and fliers.

Follow RN&R’s advice and you won’t have to set foot in a crowded mall for the rest of the year. Plus, whether you opt for traditional or cutting edge, precious pendants or plein-air paintings, giving the gift of art is just plain cool. Not to mention it decreases your chances of having to attend white-elephant parties later.

Your options are many. Shop at a public event or a private studio. Take a Sunday drive or just click a few buttons on your laptop. However you like to shop, Reno’s creative community has Mallmart and Company beat hands down for original gift ideas.

Event: Not your

grandma’s church-basement bazaar

As usual, Holland Project’s youthful energy equals a teeming mother lode of creative output, the Rogue Art + Craft Village, Dec. 9, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the Holland Project, 140 Vesta St. Think Grandma’s church-basement bazaar, only replace Grandma’s doily-knitting buddies with the fixie-riding, vintage-eyeglass-frames-wearing, all-ages-punk-show-hosting set. More than 20 forward-thinking, community-minded crafters will peddle their wares while they teach you how to make your own. Browse for the freshest ’zines, ceramics, linocut cards and small artworks around, then wander over to the make-your-own-gift-wrap station. Catch a buzz, compliments of local Magpie Coffee Roasters, who’ll serve cups of joe, sell you some beans to take home, and get you energized for some hands-on crafting. At the holiday card-making workshop at 2 p.m. $5 buys you instruction and supplies. If your own stationery creations aren’t enough to stuff stockings of everyone on your list, artist and go-getter [and RN&R contributor] Megan Berner has got your back. She organizes Holland Project Print Editions, something of a print-of-the-month club, year-round. Each month her crew of local and national printers makes a few extras to stash away for holiday shopping time, hence a wide selection of affordable one-off prints, among the event’s anticipated highlights. For more information, visit hollandreno.org.

Artist: Glass act

Jeff Johnson’s work is all over town, in shop windows, private homes, and art collections. And if someone on your gift list asked Santa for a custom beer sign, surely you’re already thought to give the area’s preeminent neon artist a call. But here’s a little secret for advanced gift givers and design buffs who aren’t in need of bar or casino signage: Johnson—who spends a lot of his time making art and very little time creating an online presence or marketing his work—also handcrafts exquisite, blown-glass ornaments. They’re like frozen, oversized, clear-mixed-with-candy-striping raindrops, balancing fresh and contemporary with a distinctively swoopy shape that says “Christmas traditional,” but pretty enough to leave up all year. Purchase one-offs or sets of these charming morsels directly from Johnson’s studio. You’ll have to track him down the old fashioned way, by phone, 324-6290, and with advance notice.

Exhibit: Home means paintings of Nevada

We love the Reno Arch. The glowing, neon skyline is dear to our hearts. But for every few dozen image makers whose work boisterously shouts, “Reno!” there’s only one Erik Holland, whose paintings quietly, competently repeat “realistic, romantic, less iconic Nevada” over and over. Holland avoids the oft-represented, postcard-worthy structures to show us instead the little things we love about home: the way the light looks in that one cottonwood tree in the fall in front of that unpretentiously pretty Victorian we walk by every day; the Old Riverside Hotel, stoically picturesque, painted pink by a sunrise. His pictures are romantic, in the pragmatic way, just like Reno. This month, Holland leans slightly iconic, for him anyway, in his exhibit, “Frederic Delongchamps Art and Architecture” at the Nevada Historical Society, 1650 North Virginia St., 688-1190, where last-minute shoppers can pick up an oil painting or architectural drawing of a structure designed by Delongchamps, the architect who left his Art-Deco mark all over the region. Holland’s paintings are just right for expats and envious out-of-towners, and they go with most couches.

Website: Precious jewels

Check all of Etsy.com for handmade versions of everything you can think of. Check the Indie Reno page for a long list of regional crafters and designers who showcase their wares on the crafty, online marketplace. And check Dean Burton’s page to see what happened when the Truckee Meadows Community College photography professor branched into 3-D production. Burton’s been collecting manual cameras, gone the way of the dinosaur for their original purpose but fun to dissect. He reassembles their tiny gears, timers and shutter components into pendants and earrings that redefine the term “precious jewelry.” His line of wearables wears the gently nostalgically dystopian brand name, “The Camera’s Demise,” and Burton’s jewelry creations are as meticulous and refined as the abstract photographs he’s known for. His recent news suggest that “Demise” is thriving—he recently learned where to buy used cameras by the dozen, and he just released a line of men’s jewelry in addition to his more feminine-leaning initial designs.

Weekend drive: Pottery bards

Paul Herman and Joe Winter are both wood-kiln-firing potters who live down the road from each other, about a 40-minute drive north of town. Both are open for business all year round, but the best time to turn a Sunday drive into a shopping score is in December, when they both schedule holiday sale hours all month long to increase the chances of you being able to cruise up U.S. Route 395 in cooperative weather conditions. Each artists unpacks kilnload after kilnload of wheel-thrown ceramic pitchers, plates, jars and clever kitchenwares, even the occasional stoneware colander. Herman’s porcelain coffee tumblers are a comfortable balance of subtle and sturdy. Winter is revered for his decorative, oversized tea pots and excited about a new line of colorful salt-fired, lidded canisters. Paul Herman, Great Basin Pottery, 423-725 Scott Road, Doyle, Calif., greatbasinpottery.com. Joe Winter Pottery, 16620 Fetlock Drive, joewinterpottery.com. Remaining sale dates at both locations are Dec. 8-9, 15-16, and 22-23, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Winter welcomes the public to watch him crack open a kiln full of warm, shiny wares at 10 a.m. Dec. 8.